The FBHVC monthly report

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The Federation of British Historic Vehicle Clubs represents our interests nationally, fighting for those who enjoy using their Classic Cars.

Robin Astle, our Club's FBHVC representative gives a monthly report on what's going on.

Robin Astle

August 2020

by Robin Astle.

From FBHVC Newsletter 2020 No. 3

Low Emission Zone Update by James Fairchild

As stated in recent newsletters, the Federation responds to the consultation for each proposal for a low emission zone or clean air zone that we become aware of.

Of the schemes that are sufficiently advanced so as to have a formal document, we have created a page on our website at for the benefit of the owners of historic vehicles and their drivers. There are a few points we would make:

  • The schemes in London, Birmingham and Leeds are all charging zones rather than banning zones.
  • Cars and tricycles are included in some schemes – if your car journey will take you to London or Birmingham, please do have a read. Up until fairly recently, these schemes were only the concern of those with historic buses or trucks – no longer.
  • All three English schemes thus far finalised are affording an exemption to vehicles in the historic VED class – so with the recent ‘moving forward’ of the qualifying date that occurred, this covers most vehicles constructed in the 1970s or earlier (or to be precise, constructed prior to 1 January 1980 or first registered prior to 8 January 1980). Both buses and trucks used exclusively for private purposes are eligible for this taxation class, however if there is an element of hire and reward use (or for trucks that are used laden) this may not be the case, and you are urged to take your own advice.
  • Vehicles on Q plates are eligible for historic VED 40 years after the Q plate was first issued. Owners are referred to earlier newsletter articles around Q plates where proof of age subsequently comes to light.
  • London has suspended road user charging for the coronavirus pandemic – once the ‘lockdown’ restrictions are eased, we must assume that these charges will be reinstated immediately.
  • The introductions of zones in Leeds and Birmingham are delayed until early 2021, as are the London changes that were planned for October this year, both as a consequence of the pandemic.
  • The Birmingham zone (applicable to cars too) includes the Queensway Tunnels on the A38M. This zone applies 24 hours a day and there are no further exemptions for vehicles other than the general historic VED.
  • Leeds City Council are allowing buses aged 20 to 40 years, used for preservation purposes only, to access the zone ten days per year, and furthermore are allowing buses over 40 years old which need to be taxed in the ‘bus’ taxation class to access the zone also. Buses in these two categories need to register in advance.
  • As previously outlined in these pages, Transport Scotland is in the process of introducing zones which will be banning zones rather than charging zones. We have made various representations, including sending representatives to meetings in both Glasgow and Aberdeen, and await the next communication from Transport Scotland and the individual cities themselves. We understand that Edinburgh is to introduce a zone later in 2020 which will initially be applicable to service buses only – our webpage gives brief details of this form of zone.
  • Each zone will operate on a standalone basis, i.e. the relevant charge will need to be paid to each authority if more than one is passed through. In addition to Leeds, neighbouring Bradford is also proposing a scheme (both for buses and trucks only) and there will be a gap of only 1.5 miles between the two zones along the A647 and some vehicles will need to make a payment to both authorities for only short journeys.
  • In addition to vehicles themselves, a number of enthusiasts and businesses serving our movement will employ modern trucks to transport vehicles and parts. Such trucks are of course in scope for these zones. If you live in or near one of the areas concerned, there may be funding that can be accessed to retrofit your vehicle with Euro VI emissions kit, or put towards a newer, compliant vehicle. In certain areas, this includes vans also (whether just used for private purposes or for business).
  • Foreign historic vehicles are eligible for similar exemptions, but again need to register in advance. Visits of foreign historic commercials to this country seem rare, but it is good to know they are catered for should a visit occur. Visits by foreign registered cars to London or Birmingham will be rather more common, of course.
  • For foreign visitors to some of the major indoor car shows, it is worth pointing out that the Birmingham NEC is outside the Birmingham zone by several miles, whereas both Excel London and Olympia are outside the London ULEZ as it stands at present, but will both be inside the enlarged ULEZ zone when it changes in October 2021.

Anyone considering taking a vehicle abroad may wish to visit to view information. We understand that Dublin is considering the introduction of a zone, and for those visiting mainland Europe both Paris and Lille appear to be the first schemes one might encounter after using Le Shuttle or the Dover to Calais ferry. Do refer to the websites of cities/regions you are considering visiting for charges and possible exemption detail, and recall that in many European countries, an ‘on the spot’ fine means exactly that.

Media outlets are predicting that travel will not return to February 2020 conditions once the pandemic is over, with various business leaders praising the advantages of modern videoconferencing and other ‘working from home’ tools. Should this prove true, it could have an influence around the ‘baseline’ data for schemes that are at the earlier stages. On the other hand, it may be that the experts who are working on these schemes will have used the current ‘working from home’ period to further refine their assumptions and business cases.

During 2019, both Southampton and Cardiff abandoned plans to charge vehicles to enter the city, although both cities are working on non-charging solutions. We are also aware that Belfast has been considering a zone, although an expected consultation last year has not, as far as we are aware, ever been issued.

We finally ask that if readers see a newspaper article about a possible zone in your town, that you contact us by email ( or social media. We would rather hear of something three times than not at all.

DVLA by Ian Edmunds

I want to start these notes by emphasising that changes affecting the Federation Legislation Committee as a whole, and my role within it, have not altered the DVLA liaison function. I remain as DVLA Liaison Manager reporting directly to our Chairman David Whale.

At the time of writing DVLA, in common with everyone else, are suffering from the Covid-19 precautions with the majority of staff working from home and in consequence their capacity is significantly reduced. Quite properly their efforts are being focussed on ‘front line’ vehicles and we would ask members to be patient in their dealings with the Agency at what is a difficult time for all of us. Further details of the current situation at DVLA are available at – and the Federation circulated this information to clubs in mid-April.

Whilst in general things are as one would expect very quiet, I can report some good news. Readers may remember that I have been complaining about the lack of any acknowledgement or reply to letters sent to DVLA earlier in the year. Around the middle of April, I received an email from a gentleman previously unknown to me at DVLA. The writer introduced himself explaining that my previous main point of contact and two of his colleagues had left DVLA. He went on to acknowledge the outstanding correspondence and to apologise for the lack of response. Finally, he has promised responses as soon as some form of working normality returns.

I am optimistic that dialogue has been re-established and followed up on the email by sending DVLA a brief position paper setting out the current concerns that FBHVC has with DVLA operations on behalf of its 250,000 members.

This development has been shared with Sir Greg Knight and the APPHVG who have agreed to defer any action until we have heard further from our new contact at DVLA. Nevertheless, they are still very keen to help us if it should prove necessary.

Museums by David Burke

Silverstone Experience

On the 6th March 2020 HRH The Duke of Sussex and Lewis Hamilton officially opened the new Silverstone Experience museum. The opening concluded seven years of hard work converting a WW2 RAF Hangar into the state-of-the-art facility that now exists.

Aided by a £9.1 million National Lottery grant the Experience hopes to kindle young people into engineering careers. Many Formula One cars are included in the displays.

A hands-on Tech Lab created great interest from a party of schoolchildren who were present at the opening.

Jim Clark Museum

Opened in July 2019 following a £1.6million partnership project – the museum welcomed 13,000 visitors in its first six months as well as securing its first award, notably from the Royal Automobile Club Historic Awards.

The new museum has now been awarded the prestigious 5-Star Museum grading – the first museum in the Scottish Borders to receive this accolade and one of only nine 5-Star visitor attractions in the region.

For the start of the season, the museum is hosting a new exhibition, Clark on Canvas. This evocative exhibition of artworks depicts 1960s motor racing, when Jim Clark was the dominant driver. The artwork has been loaned to the museum by the Guild of Motoring Artists, an international group dedicated to automotive art. Visitors will be able to purchase paintings from the exhibition, which runs to 30 November 2020. Live Borders Charity operates the museum.

Lakeland Motor Museum - Recent Addition

A recent addition to Lakeland Motor Museum is a 1963 Humber Hawk Estate Series III. It has only covered 45,000 miles from new. The Humber lived a life towing caravans and making deliveries for its owners’ hardware business. It was stored in a heated and sealed garage in North Yorkshire and wrapped in blankets which have ensured it remained in excellent condition.

Museum Closures

In the current Coronavirus situation, a number of museums have advised that they are closing until such times as it is appropriate to re-open. If you are considering a museum visit it is worth a phone call to establish whether the museum will be open.

Museum details, phone/email, are contained in the Museums section of



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